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Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa)

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Also listed as: Chenopodium quinoa
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Amaranthaceae (family), bitter quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa Willd., quinoa flour, quinoa seed, quinua, quinua flour, quinua seed, sweet quinoa.

Background
  • Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andes Incas for thousands of years. It has recently gained prominence around the world as a "super food" due to its high protein content. Although quinoa is high in protein content, it alone does not have enough protein to replace meat in the Western European diet, due to current cultivation, technological, and processing restrictions. Quinoa is also used by some people as a substitute for wheat, especially those on a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or other conditions.
  • Other than its use as a food, there is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of quinoa for any indication.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antioxidant, celiac disease, food uses, hypertriglyceridemia (elevated level of fatty acid compounds in the blood).

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

  • There is no proven effective dose for quinoa in adults.

Children (younger than 18 years):

  • There is no proven effective dose for quinoa in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Quinoa is likely safe when quinoa seeds are used in food amounts, as quinoa has been used as a food for thousands of years. Quinoa is usually washed after harvest and before preparation to remove a natural coating of saponins on the seeds. Available reports of adverse effects related to quinoa are lacking.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Quinoa is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Quinoa may have antioxidant properties. Caution is advised when taking quinoa with other agents that have antioxidant properties.
  • Quinoa may lower triglyceride concentrations, compared to gluten-free bread and pasta. Caution is advised in patients taking triglyceride-lowering agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Quinoa may have antioxidant properties. Caution is advised when taking quinoa with herbs and supplements that have antioxidant properties.
  • Quinoa may lower triglyceride concentrations, compared to gluten-free bread and pasta. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that may lower triglycerides.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Berti C, Riso P, Brusamolino A, et al. Effect on appetite control of minor cereal and pseudocereal products. Br J Nutr 2005;94(5):850-858.
  2. Berti C, Riso P, Monti LD, et al. In vitro starch digestibility and in vivo glucose response of gluten-free foods and their gluten counterparts. Eur J Nutr 2004;43(4):198-204.
  3. Cook JD, Reddy MB, Burri J, et al. The influence of different cereal grains on iron absorption from infant cereal foods. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65(4):964-969.
  4. Dijkstra DS, Linnemann AR, van Boekel TA. Towards sustainable production of protein-rich foods: appraisal of eight crops for Western Europe. PART II: Analysis of the technological aspects of the production chain. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2003;43(5):481-506.
  5. Hurrell RF, Reddy MB, Burri J, et al. An evaluation of EDTA compounds for iron fortification of cereal-based foods. Br J Nutr 2000;84(6):903-910.
  6. Inman-Felton AE, Rottmann LH. Should millet, buckwheat, and quinoa be included in a gluten-free diet? J Am Diet.Assoc 1999;99(11):1361.
  7. Jung K, Richter J, Kabrodt K, et al. The antioxidative power AP--A new quantitative time dependent (2D) parameter for the determination of the antioxidant capacity and reactivity of different plants. Spectrochim.Acta A Mol.Biomol.Spectrosc. 3-13-2006;63(4):846-850.
  8. Lee P. Should millet, buckwheat, and quinoa be included in a gluten-free diet? J Am Diet.Assoc 1999;99(11):1361.
  9. Linnemann AR, Dijkstra DS. Toward sustainable production of protein-rich foods: appraisal of eight crops for Western Europe. Part I. Analysis of the primary links of the production chain. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2002;42(4):377-401.
  10. Ogungbenle HN. Nutritional evaluation and functional properties of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) flour. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2003;54(2):153-158.
  11. Ruales J, de Grijalva Y, Lopez-Jaramillo P, et al. The nutritional quality of an infant food from quinoa and its effect on the plasma level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in undernourished children. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2002;53(2):143-154.
  12. Ruales J, Nair BM. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd) an important Andean food crop. Arch Latinoam.Nutr 1992;42(3):232-241.
  13. Schollenberger M, Muller HM, Rufle M, et al. Survey of Fusarium toxins in foodstuffs of plant origin marketed in Germany. Int J Food Microbiol. 1-1-2005;97(3):317-326.
  14. Thompson T. Case problem: questions regarding the acceptability of buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, and oats from a patient with celiac disease. J Am Diet.Assoc 2001;101(5):586-587.
  15. Valencia S, Svanberg U, Sandberg AS, et al. Processing of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd): effects on in vitro iron availability and phytate hydrolysis. Int J Food Sci Nutr 1999;50(3):203-211.

Copyright 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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